JCPS says special-needs classrooms at the Phoenix School will re - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS says special-needs classrooms at the Phoenix School will remain

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The Phoenix School of Discovery (WDRB News file photo) The Phoenix School of Discovery (WDRB News file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Approximately two dozen special-needs students assigned to the Phoenix School of Discovery will be allowed to stay at the school this fall and not be moved elsewhere, according to a letter that was sent home to parents on Friday.

In the letter, Superintendent Donna Hargens says that the four classrooms for students with moderate and severe disabilities will remain at Phoenix, which is located at 3741 Pulliam Drive.

"As soon as I was aware of the concerns regarding the relocation of MSD classrooms ... I began a review of the situation," Hargens wrote.

Earlier this year, Ken Moeller, the school's principal had sent out a letter to the parents of non-special needs students, mentioning changes at the school for the 2017-18 year -- including the fact that the school would "no longer have elementary students at the Phoenix.” 

Many parents of special-needs students became concerned they were not notified and wondered where their children would go to school. Jefferson County Public Schools officials held a meeting at the school on Wednesday to answer questions.

Parents like Christy Jenkins and Amanda Hargrove said Friday they are happy with the outcome, but still worry about what may happen to their children in the future.

"I am very happy," Jenkins told WDRB on Friday. "We've accomplished this now...but I have to wonder, for how long? Will we have to worry about what happens next year, in two years?"

Hargrove says she just wants her son, Adam, and all the kids at Phoenix, to "be treated fairly."

"They already have a rough road as it is," Hargrove said. "We as parents are their only voice, especially the ones who are non verbal, in our case."

At the Wednesday meeting, Hargens admitted that the district did not "communicate well internally.” 

On Friday, Hargens told the parents that the district is "committed to continuous improvement and to learning from this experience."

"I will take responsibility for working with staff to do that," Hargens said.

JCPS board member Chris Kolb tweeted a statement Friday evening:

"I am very happy this worked out for our special needs families, but the manner in which this unfolded is unacceptable. We must do better."

Related Stories:

Parents of JCPS special-needs students concerned about relocation

Reporter Antoinette "Toni" Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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